By Constantinos Iacovides and Evie Andreou
The 18th century Ayios Mamas village church was severely damaged after a fire caused by a lit candle broke out on Thursday afternoon and again early Friday.
The fire brigade responded to the initial call around 5:30 pm, and the fire was extinguished.
But the fire reignited around 1:40 is Friday to which the fire brigade responded with two fire engines.
The second fire was eventually extinguished, but the church’s roof, wall, and iconostasis were severely damaged.
The church, located at the Ayios Mamas village, was built towards the end of the 18th century.
Residents said they were devastated over the destruction, particularly over damage to some 19th-century icons.
They criticized the fire service for not leaving firefighters to ensure the fire did not flare up again.
When putting out the blaze, fire service spokesman Andreas Kettis told media the crew that responded to the call had helped the priest remove old icons.
Pettis said that the crew checked before leaving with specialized equipment to make sure the fire would not reignite but that they had not spotted anything suspicious.
Pettis said that perhaps a burned particle inside the iconostasis might have caused the reignition.
The church had been renovated around two years ago.
President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his sorrow over the damage to the historic church. The government would help to restore it said as it “is part of our cultural heritage.”